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Labour to launch own campaign to keep Scotland in United Kingdom

New pro-Union push to offer 'different view of Scotland's future' from Conservatives and Liberals.

Referendum: Scots will go to the polls in September.
© STV

Labour will distance itself from Better Together colleagues in the Tories and Liberal Democrats by launching its own campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.

The party works with its political opponents inside the pro-Union campaign but wants to put across a "different view" of Scotland's future.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont and her deputy, the MP Anas Sarwar, will be among the speakers at the launch of United with Labour at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow on Monday.

Mr Sarwar, who is campaign co-ordinator, said: "We are excited about putting forward our case for Scotland in the United Kingdom based on Labour values of solidarity, community, fairness, equality and social justice.

"Our vision is for a fairer, better Scotland that stands strong within the United Kingdom, working in partnership with our neighbours.

"Constitutional politics brings together people who wouldn't normally be on the same side and we will continue to work with the Better Together campaign.

"But the Labour movement has a different view of Scotland's future from the Conservatives and Liberals.

"The referendum is the biggest decision the people of Scotland will face for 300 years and it is important that we have strong Labour voices speaking for the majority of Scots who believe we are better working together with our neighbours in the United Kingdom."

The campaign aims to contact half a million households in the next three months. A mixture of senior Labour figures and new faces will be invited to put the case for Scotland "standing strong" within the United Kingdom, the party said.

The launch comes less than a month since the Scottish Labour party conference in Inverness, where the leadership was urged to put forward a distinct, positive argument for remaining in the UK.

Dave Watson, of Unison, told the conference: "While I appreciate the referendum campaign has to have a formal Yes and No campaign, most of us in the Labour movement have a huge difficulty with any campaign that includes the Tories."

Unite's Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said undecided members "won't be bounced into taking sides".

Richard Leonard, of the GMB union, said: "Let's get out of the slipstream of the nationalists and the unionists and be ourselves.

"It's no good simply saying what we are against, we need to tell people what we are for."

Scottish Labour has already drafted a recommendation for the devolution of income tax to bolster the Scottish Parliament within the UK.

The tax was described as the "best candidate" but the proposal attracted concerns from within the party.

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